Is sending a church member a letter cowardly?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by hamricba, Oct 11, 2005.

  1. hamricba

    hamricba
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2005
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    0
    I need some help.

    2 men in our church are involved in conflict. One made false accusations of the other. The other in turn got angry, but I don't think he sinned in his anger (he said "Wait a minute" forcefully, then left). The man who got angry thought he had violated 1 Cor. 13:5, and wrote a letter of apology. It was never acknowledged. He in turn contacted me and said we needed to call a meeting in response to Matthew 18.

    I approached the alleged false accuser and he was very reluctant to meet. He barely acknowledged to me getting a letter from the other man. He did not act like had forgiven him, and then spouted off a bunch of suspicions he had about him (none of which are rooted in fact). Anyway, he said he would think about meeting with him (at first he was dead against it).

    I gave him a week, and never heard back from him. The Lord convinced me on Heb. 13:17 that since I will give account for their souls, we need to meet and be obedient to the Lord's directives in Matthew 18. I wrote both men the same letter, one page, and I also included some pastoral concerns in a separate letter to the alleged false accuser. I did not accuse him of anything, but I did explain why we needed to meet.

    Part of the reason I sent a letter is because this person does not listen well and would likely have tried to argue with me about it.

    Well, not only did the alleged false accuser not show for the meeting, he stormed in my office an hour after it was supposed to happen, asking why I couldn't talk to him like a man face to face about it, why I sent him a letter. I invited him to sit down with me right then and there and talk, and he refused (he is retired, so he had the time).

    Just looking for some counsel from you all about sending your members letters. What do you think? Hope I've given you enough background.
     
  2. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    Letters are not cowardly, though they can be. They are good ways to document things for future reference. Of course, documentation works both ways so be careful what you say. You should have pointed out to the man who showed up late and then refused to talk that that was precisely the reason you sent him a letter ... He won't respond in personal conversation.
     
  3. hamricba

    hamricba
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2005
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    0
    What would be an example of a cowardly letter?
     
  4. hamricba

    hamricba
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2005
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    0
    Terminating an employee?
     
  5. Johnv

    Johnv
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    21,321
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm trying to figure out how you got in the middle of it in the first place. I'd tell the two of them to work it out between themselves, and to keep other people out if it until they do.

    Just my $.02
     
  6. Johnv

    Johnv
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    21,321
    Likes Received:
    0
    Any letter that is sent for the purpose of not having to face the person is a cowardly letter.
     
  7. hamricba

    hamricba
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2005
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    0
    I felt like they had exhausted that possibility. Some minor things were said that indicated they (or at least one of them) was unwilling to communicate with the other. I agree with you about staying out of something if at all possible. I gave them a month between initial conflict and this meeting I called.
     
  8. Johnv

    Johnv
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    21,321
    Likes Received:
    0
    No disrespect, but I'm still at a loss as to how you got in the middle.
     
  9. hamricba

    hamricba
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2005
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    0
    I became the "one or two others" mentioned in Matthew 18:15-17, when communication ceased between these two men.

    Or you at a loss as to why I was attacked by one of them?

    John, if you feel I acted wrongly, could you offer some friendly criticism as to how else it could have been handled?
     
  10. Johnv

    Johnv
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    21,321
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you were attacked as a third party, then address the attack. Without specifics, I'm still unclear as to how you got to be in the middle.
     
  11. Plain Old Bill

    Plain Old Bill
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,657
    Likes Received:
    0
    Remember there are going to be times that no matter what you do or don't do you won't win. I know winning is not your goal and that you would like to see these two reconciled to each other, if it is going to happen it will over time.Perhaps there is more to this then meets the eye.Only these two gentlemen know the answer to that question.I would right or wrong apologize to the offended party and tell him it was not my attention to avoid ,insult or anger him.Then pray.
     
  12. guitarpreacher

    guitarpreacher
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2005
    Messages:
    759
    Likes Received:
    0
    Actually, I think the letter might be the better way to go. If you have one or more who are not acting as Christians, it can be a very good thing to have your conversations documented. Right now in my life there is one person who I will not have a private conversation with. I will only exchange emails, letters, or have a third party present when we talk.

    As for me personally, I'm a lot better at organizing my thoughts and writing them out than I am at speaking them. So if it's an important message I want to get across, I'll more times than not put it in a letter or email. Others may be more comfortable speaking than writing.
     
  13. Deacon

    Deacon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    6,973
    Likes Received:
    129
    Church discipline is rarely easy. More often than not the offender knows that they have done wrong and attempts to thwart discipline in one way or another.

    Often it becomes difficult or near impossible to meet with the person privately or in a small group.

    I think sending a letter was a very appropriate response to his inaction.

    Rob
     
  14. SaggyWoman

    SaggyWoman
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2000
    Messages:
    17,933
    Likes Received:
    8
    They are good for documentation and to send out information.

    BUT.

    It's time for face to face. The guy who is spouting, though, doesn't sound like he would respond to much of anything.
     
  15. MikeinGhana

    MikeinGhana
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    Messages:
    356
    Likes Received:
    0
    As it has been mentioned above, a letter is cowardly when it is for the purpose of avoiding confrontation. It is also cowardly if you would say something in a letter you would not in a face to face meeting. A letter can be perceived as a threat if it is not done properly and followed up with a Christlike face to face.
     
  16. hamricba

    hamricba
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2005
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks everyone for the feedback. I felt like I WAS being respectful to both by explaining our need for meeting. And it was to produce the confrontation meeting, not avoid it altogether.
     

Share This Page

Loading...